By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Montez Young delivered the biggest shot of the season for the third-ranked Waxahachie Runnin’ Indians on Saturday afternoon against top-ranked Duncanville.
The 6-foot-4 senior, typically known for his insanely springing legs and work around the basket, took a pass from Jalen Lake and drilled a three-pointer from the right-wing. The bucket was the difference in the Runnin’ Indians 88-85 upset of previously unbeaten (16-1, 3-1) No. 1 Duncanville.
“We suited up 13 guys who are going to give everything that they have and that is what they did today,” Waxahachie head boys’ basketball coach Greg Gober told KBEC Sports. “They sold out and gave everything that they had for the team and not just for themselves. We got lucky at the end, and Tez made a big shot, but we made a bunch of big shots before that one too.”
Waxahachie (11-2, 4-0 in District 11-6A) trailed by as many as 12 points — twice — on the afternoon. The Runnin’ Indians also trailed by 10 points at the half (42-32) and the start of the fourth quarter (60-50).
To take the incredible come-from-behind win a step further, the Tribe didn’t take their first lead until the 2:06 mark of the fourth quarter (71-69). Waxahachie outscored Duncanville 38-25 over the fourth quarter and overtime.
“Truthfully, I think a lot of our energy came from Jh’Marques Head and Preston [Hodge] and those guys on defense,” said Gober of what led to the comeback win. “Playing hard defensively is what got us back in this game. Offensively, we struggled all afternoon and we will get better at that. But our defensive effort is what did it for us.”
University of Oklahoma-signee CJ Nolad led all scorers with 30 points, which included five in overtime. Jalen Lake scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter or overtime, while Young had 19 and Prince Banks scored 11 to round out the Runnin’ Indians in double-figures.
Four Panthers also reached double-figures, led by Juan Reyna’s 25 (four threes) and 19 by Damon Nicholas Jr. Ron Holland added 14 and Zhuric Phelps had 11.
Waxahachie entered as the third-ranked team in Class 6A, while the Panthers came in as the top-ranked team in the class and No. 6 nationally.
Duncanville previously scored 102, 105 and 85 points in district victories against DeSoto, Midway and Lake Ridge with an average margin-of-victory of 44.7PPG. The 58 points scored by Midway last week were the most of the bunch, which obviously changed against Waxahachie on Coach Phil McNeely Court at Sandra Meadows Memorial Arena in Duncanville on Saturday.
Duncanville used its up-tempo transition offense to jump out to an 8-2 lead and force the game’s first timeout with 5:36 to play in the opening frame.
With Waxahachie down 11, Lake caught a bit of a heater. The senior guard drilled two consecutive buckets — the second a three-pointer from the left wing — to cut the Duncanville to 15-9 with 3:40 showing on the first-quarter clock.
A few trips later, Preston Hodge converted on a pair of free throws to cut to 17-13 as the clock dipped under two minutes in the first quarter.
Duncanville eventually added a three-pointer and pair of free throws with under 30 seconds to play for a 22-13 advantage. That lead carried into the second quarter.
Back-to-back baskets in the lane by Pigford and Noland cut the Panthers’ lead to 24-19 with five minutes and change to play in the first half.
Waxahachie eventually whittled the Duncanville lead down to as low as four points (25-21, 27-23, 29-25).
A little later in the frame, Montez Young converted on a pair of free throws to cut the Duncanville lead to two, 29-27.
With the Runnin’ Indians in the double-bonus, Noland made the most of his trip to the charity stripe on the ensuing Waxahachie possession. His two free throws tied the game at 29-all with under three minutes showing on the second-quarter clock.
Duncanville closed the quarter on a 13-3 run for a 42-32 lead at the half.
Waxahachie missed six free throws in the first half.
Duncanville quickly scored to open a 12-point lead, its largest to that point of the game.
Young and Noland responded with back-to-back buckets to get the second-half scoring started for Waxahachie.
Prince Banks then added his first basket of the afternoon when he capitalized on a Noland steal with a nifty right-handed layup. The bucket cut the Duncanville lead to 44-38 with 6:22 to play in the third quarter.
After a Duncanville triple, V’zarion Roberson responded with a big-time trey to pull Waxahachie back within four, 49-45, as the clock ran down toward four minutes remaining in the third.
The Panthers then put together another big run, this one of the 10-2 variety, to match their biggest lead of the afternoon, 59-47.
Noland converted on an and-one with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter to send the Runnin’ Indians into the fourth quarter down 60-50. The three-point play gave Noland 22 points on the afternoon.
Banks opened the final frame with a short left-handed floater off a Lake assist to cut the Panther lead to eight, 60-52.
The bucket kickstarted a 9-2 Waxahachie run, capped by a Banks corner three, to cut the Runnin’ Indian deficit to three, 62-59.
Duncanville turned the ball over on its next possession with 5:20 to play. After back-to-back turnovers, Lake added got a contested layup to fall to extend the run to 11-2 and pull Waxahachie within one, 62-61.
A little over one minute later, Young pulled down an offensive rebound and put it back to keep the Duncanville lead at one, 64-63.
Reyna responded with a corner trey for Duncanville as the clock ran under four minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
With the Panthers up two, a Duncanville assistant coach received a tech and Hodge made it count, burying both free throws to tie the game at 69-all.
Banks then gave the Runnin’ Indians their first lead, 71-69, with a short bucket. The lead came with 2:06 to play in the fourth quarter.
Noland extended the Waxahachie lead to three points as the clock ran under 90 seconds to play.
That Waxahachie advantage was down to one, 74-73, after a five-second call with 54 seconds remaining on the fourth-quarter clock. It was then tied at 74-all shortly after.
Following a Waxahachie turnover, Hodge drew a charge on a Duncanville fastbreak with 11 seconds to play. The gutsy play allowed the Runnin’ Indians to take the final shot for the win.
Roberson’s attempt missed the mark, sending the game into a four-minute overtime period tied at 74-all.
Waxahachie scored first in the frame, but Aric Demings hit his first three-pointer of the afternoon for a one-point Duncanville lead, 79-78.
Noland drove the lane for back-to-back baskets and built an 82-79 Waxahachie advantage with under 2:30 to play.
Noland then split a trip to the charity stripe, extending the Runnin’ Indian lead to four, 83-79, with 1:35 remaining.
Yet again, the Panthers clawed back with a short floater and a free throw.
But it was still the Noland show, as he responded with a layup for a three-point Waxahachie lead, 85-82.
Demings connected again from three-point land to tie the game at 85-all with 35 seconds to play.
Waxahachie eventually inbounded the ball with 11 seconds remaining in overtime.
Noland raced down the court and dished to Lake in the lane. The Colorado State-signee turned and found Young a step inside the three-point line on the right-wing.
Young took one dribble, stepped back and tickled the twine for an 88-85 Waxahachie lead with 2 seconds to play.
The Duncanville prayer went in-and-out, sealing the Waxahachie upset in the first of what could very well be three meetings this season.
The two will meet for a second time on Feb. 2 at Michael Key Turner Gymnasium in Waxahachie. The third would be in the fourth round of the 6A playoffs.
Waxahachie returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at home against (11-1, 2-0) No. 21 Mansfield.
“We better wake up because every game is tough,” Gober added.
All photos by Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports
Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports contributed to this report.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith